Partnering with a Developer and a Local Authority

K1 Cohousing in Cambridge



The Marmalade Lane Cohousing scheme is an ‘intentional community’; the first cohousing scheme to be developed in Cambridge. It is also the first-ever three-way collaboration between a cohousing group, a local authority as landowner and a developer building the homes.

  • When, in 2009, C2O Futureplanners proposed that Cambridge City Council facilitate the building of a Cohousing community on a plot they owned, labelled K1, it fell on fertile ground. A group called Enlinca had been working since 2000 to find land for such a community, and had written a well-received proposal in 2005 to build on another Council owned plot, but this had been unable to proceed. The Council agreed to fund Instinctively Green to conduct a feasibility study on the K1 site starting in 2011, and the successful outcome of this resulted in the constitution of Cambridge Cohousing Ltd (CCL) in 2013
  • In 2015, Cambridge City Council, in collaboration with CCL members, chose developer ‘TOWNhus’ (a partnership between UK developer TOWN and Swedish house builder Trivselhus) to be their developer partner. The plan they adopted included a pedestrian lane as a key feature. After much debate is was agreed to call it Marmalade Lane
  • 42 properties are being built for a growing cohousing group, ranging in size from 1 bedroom apartments to 4 bedroom houses in a design that promotes sustainable living and community cohesion
  • Cohousing means that the community is central to the design, both of the site as a whole and of the individual homes. There will be a Common House where people can share meals and social events, plus communal gardens where there will be space for residents to relax
  • The Cohousing group has not had to raise funds at the outset to purchase the land, unlike other cohousing schemes in the UK. They feel indebted to the landowner, Cambridge City Council, for their vision in recognising the value of cohousing and working with K1 to appoint the developer. TOWNhus has now purchased the land from the Council and the development is underway. The estimated completion date is July 2018
  • On completion of the development when all the homes are sold, ownership of the land and the other shared assets will be transferred to Cambridge Cohousing Ltd (CCL), the cohousing legal entity comprising all the home owners. Through CCL the cohousing group will all own and manage the site

“There is a growing expectation on Councils to enable and support custom-build and cohousing groups so it’s fantastic that Cambridge City Council is using such innovative methods to deliver housing by facilitating this development” Cllr George Owers, Cambridge City Council

More information on the K1 Cohousing scheme can be found here.


Published in March 2018